Westward Expansion


Explore the American West with the people who settled it!

In 1805, when William Clark first spotted the Pacific Ocean-highlighting the famous Lewis and Clark expedition across the continent-it marked the beginning of a massive westward movement that lasted through the century. Westward Expansion provides a rare glimpse into the day-to-day experiences of pioneering Americans as they followed Lewis and Clark's lead, risking their lives to explore, farm, seek their fortunes, and ...

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Explore the American West with the people who settled it!

In 1805, when William Clark first spotted the Pacific Ocean-highlighting the famous Lewis and Clark expedition across the continent-it marked the beginning of a massive westward movement that lasted through the century. Westward Expansion provides a rare glimpse into the day-to-day experiences of pioneering Americans as they followed Lewis and Clark's lead, risking their lives to explore, farm, seek their fortunes, and establish communities in what had been considered a vast wilderness. Through rich primary sources, you'll find yourself living and working alongside the brave men and women who came to typify the American West, including pioneers from the eastern states, from Europe, and from Asia; Native Americans defending their homeland; freed slaves searching to carve their own destinies out of America's wilderness; prospectors searching for gold and silver; and many other colorful characters.

From Daniel Boone's account of first exploring Old Kentucky to Chief Joseph's explanation of why he would no longer fight against the U. S. Army, Westward Expansion presents a wealth of period documents, including diaries, letters, articles, advertisements, speeches, and more, from both famous figures and ordinary citizens. Find out how all of these American voices working together helped make this country what it is today.

Uses letters, excerpts from journals and diaries, newspaper articles, and other primary source material to provide a look at life during the second half of the nineteenth century when many Americans moved westward.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The movement of people across the American West has achieved a legendary status. Images of wagon trains, settlers, cavalrymen, Native American warriors, gold seekers, and many others dot the collective consciousness of Americans. In Westward Expansion, writer David King compiles a representative sampling of first-hand accounts of many key events that make up the tableau of the American West. King begins with the 18th century migration led by people such as Daniel Boone and culminates at the turn of the 19th century with the Oklahoma Land Rush. Regardless of the time period covered, the reality of those travels was that they were hard. In the West, migrants encountered harsh weather, hostile Native Americans who considered them to be invaders, mishaps on the trail, and a host of other impediments. Here, readers are provided clever introductory summaries of key elements of the pioneering era as well as numerous primary source documents. These primary source voices include letters from pioneer women, accounts of lawmen, diary entries from wagon train members, military reports, and many other fascinating bits of history. Through careful editorial work, David King has produced a book that will be of value to students of the westward movement of people that we now refer to as the saga of the American West. 2003, John Wiley & Sons, Ages 12 up.
— Greg M. Romaneck
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118436080
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Series: American Heritage, American Voices Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,133,199
  • Product dimensions: 7.52 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

AMERICAN HERITAGE is well known for its magazine on American history, as well as its many highly acclaimed books, including the American Heritage Illustrated History of the United States and the American Heritage Illustrated History of the Presidents.

DAVID C. KING is a former history teacher and an award-winning author who has written more than thirty books for children and young adults, including the other books in this series as well as the American Kids in History series.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the AmericanHeritage

American Voices Series.

Introduction to Westward Expansion.


Daniel Boone and the Appalachian Barrier.

From The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone, 1784.

Opening the Northwest to Settlers.

From Colonel John May's Journal, 1788.


The Voyage of the Columbia.

From the Diary of John Boit, 1792.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark, 1805.

From the Journal of Meriwether Lewis, 1805.


Road Building: The National Road.

From Charles Latrobe's The Rambler in North America, c. 1825.

Travel on the Erie Canal.

From Frederick Gerstaecker’s Journal, c. 1832.

Houseboats, Flatboats, and Keelboats.

From John Hall's Letters from the West, 1827.

From H. S. Tanner's Emigrant's and Traveller's Guide to the West, 1834.

Steamboats: Floating Palaces of the West.

From Timothy Flint's Recollections of the Last Ten Years, 1826.


The Character of the Frontiersman.

From Timothy Flint's Recollections of the Last Ten Years, 1826.

The First Schools in the Northwest.

From Edmund Barber's Recollections, c. 1840.

Camp Meetings: Frontier Religion.

From Peter Cartwright's Autobiography, 1856.

The New Cities of the First West.

From Samuel R. Brown's Report, 1817.


Tecumseh: The Dream of Indian Unity.

From General Sam Dale's Report on Tecumseh, 1811.

The Indian Removal Policy.

From President Jackson's Letter to Congress, 1832.

The "Trail of Tears".

From an Anonymous Eyewitness Account, 1839.

The Black Hawk War.

From Major Elliot's Journal, 1834.


The Growth of the Cotton Kingdom.

From Frederick Law Olmstead's Travel Journal, c. 1835.

The Lure of Texas.

The Alamo.

From Colonel Travis's Appeal for Help, 1836.

From Davy Crockett's Journal, 1836.

Texas Independence.

From Sam Houston’s Report on the Battle of San Jacinto, 1836.


The Mountain Men: Trailblazers of the Far West.

From Reverend Samuel Parker's Journal, 1835.

From James Beckwourth's Recollections, c. 1855.

Missionaries and the First Pioneers.

From Narcissa Whitman's Diary, 1836.

Artists' Images of the West.

George Catlin.

George Caleb Bingham.

Karl Bodmer.

Alfred Jacob Miller.


Getting Started.

From Francis Parkman's The Oregon Trail, 1846.

On the Oregon Trail.

From Amelia Knight's Diary, 1853.

Glimpses from the Trails.

From Betsey Bayley's Letter, 1849.

From Esther Hanna's Diary, 1855.

From Stephen and Mariah King's Letter, 1846.

From Harriet Ward's Diary, 1853.

The Nightmare of the Donner Party.

From Virginia E. B. Reed's Letter, 1847.

The Mormons.

From William Clayton's Journal, 1847.

From The Discourse of Brigham Young, 1847.


The Discovery at Sutter's Mill.

From James W. Marshall's Account, 1848.

California Gold Fever.

From John Hawkins Clark's Journal, 1852.

The Remarkable Dame Shirley.

From Louisa Clappe's The Shirley Letters, 1851.

Women at the Mining Camps.

From Old Block's Pen-Knife Sketches, 1853.

Stagecoaches and the Pony Express.

From Mark Twain's Roughing It, 1872.

From a St. Joseph Newspaper Account, 1865.


Polk and Manifest Destiny.

From the Diary of William H. Richardson, 1846.

Victory and the Slavery Issue.

From Frederick Douglass's The North Star, 1848.

The Fate of the Native Americans.

Almost-Free Land.

From the Homestead Act, 1862.


The First Transcontinental Railroad.

From the Alta California, 1868.

From the New York Daily Tribune, 1868.

From the New York Daily Tribune's Front Page, May 11, 1869.

Crossing the Continent in Comfort.

From the New York Times, 1870.

Cowboys and Cattle Drives.

From Cowhand Jim McCawley's Account, 1887.

From Andy Adams's Account, 1866.

From Theodore Roosevelt's Autobiography, 1885.

The Wild West: Fact and Fiction.

From John W. Clampitt's Account, 1889.

From John W. Clampitt's Account of Wild Bill Hickok, 1889.

The End of the Cowboy Era.

From Theodore Roosevelt's Autobiography, 1885.

From the New York Sun, 1888.


Settlers in Sod Houses.

From Charles Reed’s Description, c. 1868.

Bison, Horses, and a Way of Life.

From George Catlin's Account, c. 1836.

From Captain Alexander Stewart’s Letter, 1844.

The End of the Bison Herds.

From George Ramspert's Account, 1881.

From William Webb's Buffalo Land, 1872.

The Last Indian Wars.

From the New York Times, July 6, 1876.

From Chief Low Dog's Account, 1881.

"Blacks in Blue".

From Senator Henry Wilson's Speech, 1866.

Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce.

From Chief Joseph's Statement, October 1871.

The Last Land Rush.

From Hamilton Wick's Report, 1889.



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